Statewide STAAR® passing rates stable for 2012-13 school year

Texas Education Agency:

AUSTIN (KYTX) - Passing rates on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) end-of-course tests were largely stable during the second year of this program, with students faring the best on science assessments and continuing to struggle with writing, according to statewide results for all 2012-13 STAAR tests released today by the Texas Education Agency.

Passing rates on courses typically taken by high school freshman ranged from 88 percent on Biology to 54 percent on English I writing. The results showed very little change from 2012 levels when comparing the performance of first-time test takers.

"We know that we are asking more of our students and educators under the STAAR program," said Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams. "Our students and teachers are still adjusting to the new expectations, but it is clear we must improve instruction to meet 21st century demands."

Overall STAAR passing rates during the spring 2012-13 administration of high school assessments (first-time test takers only/no retesters) are as follows:



  • Algebra I         82.1 percent passing                336,437 students tested

(Down 0.6 percent from STAAR spring 2012 administration)

  • Geometry*      86.2  percent passing               295,877 students tested



  • English I          70.1 percent passing                338,872 students tested

(Up 2.2 percent from STAAR spring 2012 administration)

  • English II*      78.0 percent passing                313,423 students tested



  • English I          54.3 percent passing                338,646 students tested

(Down 0.2 percent from STAAR spring 2012 administration)

  • English II*      52.7 percent passing                313,981 students tested


* Denotes first year of full implementation for STAAR assessment in that subject area


  • Biology           88.0 percent passing                338,704 students tested

(Up 0.9 percent from STAAR spring 2012 administration)

  • Chemistry*      83.7 percent passing                267,996 students tested

Social Studies

  • World Geography       80.5 percent passing    332,701 students tested

(Down 0.1 percent from STAAR spring 2012 administration)

  • World History*           70.2 percent                305,152 students tested


* Denotes first year of full implementation for STAAR assessment in that subject area

"While we would have hoped to see an across-the-board increase in performance, the difficulty of the tests, coupled with the uncertainty of the testing program's future, likely impacted performance this year," Commissioner Williams said. "We may find that with STAAR our performance increases gradually rather than in large bursts."

Williams noted that in English I - Reading (where there is a percentage increase between spring administrations), that improvement is seen across multiple student groups including African-American students (an increase of 1.5 percent), Hispanic students (an increase of 3.2 percent) and Economically Disadvantaged students (an increase of 2.6 percent).

Williams also acknowledged that the writing exams are a significant departure from past state assessments. Under the exit-level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), students were required to write a personal narrative essay, while the more rigorous STAAR includes expository and persuasive essays.  These are types of writing typically expected in the workplace or college.

To help strengthen future student performance, TEA has made a number of resources available to help improve writing skills. These resources include the STAAR scoring guides which contain samples of well-written STAAR essays.

"Good writing is critical for success in college and in the workforce, and the lagging performance in writing corresponds with what we've been hearing from higher education and from employers," Williams said.  "By continuing to shine the light on writing performance, I'm optimistic that we can graduate students who are better communicators."

Earlier this year, Williams also announced he is accelerating the scheduled release dates for STAAR exams, with all general exams to be released in August following statewide summer administrations of the tests.

This year also marked the last time that an entire class will take the exit-level TAKS. The Class of 2014 must pass TAKS, as well as their courses, to meet graduation requirements. For these 11th grade-students, TAKS passing rates ranged from 99 percent on the social studies test to 89 percent on the mathematics assessment.

Grades 5 & 8

Under state law, Texas students in grades 5 and 8 must pass the STAAR reading and math tests to be promoted to the next grade.

Seventy-seven percent of fifth-grade students passed the STAAR reading test on the first try in April, and 87 percent had passed after the second administration of the test.  Seventy-five percent of the fifth graders passed the mathematics tests in April, and the cumulative passing rate was 87 percent after the second administration of the test in May.

This year, 84 percent of eighth-grade students passed reading on the first try and 89 percent had passed after the second administration. On the STAAR math test, 77 percent of eighth-grade students passed the test the first time they took it, and 86 percent passed after two tries.

Those who failed these exams have a third testing opportunity on June 25th and 26th.  State law requires students who do not pass these tests to be retained in their current grade unless a parent appeals the retention and a grade placement committee unanimously agrees to promote them.

Eighth-grade students took two additional STAAR tests that do not impact their grade placement. Seventy-five percent of them passed the science test, and 63 percent passed the social studies test.

Additional Elementary and Middle School Grades

Passing percentages for grades 3, 4, 6 and 7 ranged from a high of 79 percent on the third-grade reading to 70 percent on seventh-grade writing.

Comparison charts of statewide results and summary charts provide more detail about all STAAR results. Note that TEA does not have district-level test results at this time. Those are available from your local school districts and charters.


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